Is Halo more popular than Star Trek
In order to understand what William Shatner was for "Star Trek", it helps to look at how his direct successor initially fared in the chair of the Captain of the Enterprise. Patrick Stewart auditioned for the role on the second "Star Trek" series, "The Next Century" - for Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise. The casting lasted six minutes, then Roddenberry said, "What the hell? I don't want a bald, middle-aged Englishman." Stewart became the long-serving and most popular captain of the "Star Trek" world. But Roddenberry never got really warm to him.
A classic "leading man" for television, according to his, very American, conception that was initially someone else. Somebody like Shatner. Young, but no longer boyish, attractive, tanned, blond. Someone who didn't mind throwing paper mache boulders at rubber mask aliens. But Kirk and the series had their hearts in the right place. One of the very first kisses between a black and a white person on US television was exchanged between Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura. William Shatner's James Tiberius Kirk was a cowboy in space: a bit hot-headed and always ready to bend the rules if he saw fit.
He and Kirk were basically the same person, Shatner later said of the role: "Whereby he was almost perfect and I - I am perfect." His mixture of narcissism, infused with freedom from pain in the face of one's own inadequacies and apparently inexhaustible energy has brought Shatner through a 70-year career in front of the camera. About acting, he said in a 2015 interview that he only recently figured out how to do it.
Shatner says he never watched an episode of Star Trek
The fact that "Raumschiff Enterprise" got one of the largest fan bases in television history over the years was not least due to the fantastic chemistry between Kirk and Spock. The Vulcan, played by Leonard Nimoy, was the perfect ironic-rational counterbalance to Shatner's impulsive Kirk. The two actors were close friends in real life for decades. Both grew up in Orthodox Jewish immigrant families from Eastern Europe. Shatner attributed his - like Nimoys - work addiction to the fear of losing everything again. For family life, he himself admits, it was destructive. Shatner was married four times, the last divorce in 2020.
The "Star Trek" cult in the 1970s made him an icon for good. Shatner initially resisted, as a guest on "Saturday Night Live" he told the fans to get a real life - "get a life!" - and at 80 he still claimed that he had never watched an episode of the series. But soon he submitted to the admiration.
It didn't hurt him: In the early 1980s Shatner played the title role in the police television series "TJ Hooker" and after the turn of the millennium he succeeded again in "The Practice" and "Boston Legal" with the inflated Alzheimer's lawyer Denny Crane a memorable figure for which he received two Emmys and a Golden Globe. In addition, Shatner recorded albums, went on world tours, rides, breeds horses and Dobermans.
When he made the "Star Trek" documentary "The Captains" ten years ago, at the tender age of 80, the time had come. William Shatner made his peace with the character of James T. Kirk. He will be satisfied, he says, if one day he leaves the galaxy knowing that his fights against rubber mask aliens have made millions happy.
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